Last week, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) told the Connecticut Post that he believed the only “opportunity to achieve significant reform with bipartisan support” was if the public option was “off the table.” “There will be no shot at 60 votes” with a public option, said Lieberman, adding “because I’m not the only one” against it. On MSNBC today, Lieberman claimed that the public option wasn’t “attainable” because “the public doesn’t support it”:
LIEBERMAN: The question is, are people going to continue to fight for elements that are not attainable or are they going to try to find common ground?
MITCHELL: You mean — you mean the public option? You mean the public option is not attainable?
LIEBERMAN: I mean — yes, I mean a government-run health insurance plan. The public doesn’t support it. They know that, ultimately, taxpayers will pay for it. They don’t want us to add to the debt. They feel that the existing system, private insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, does pretty well.
Lieberman is wrong when he says that “the public doesn’t support” a public option. In fact, numerous polls have found strong support for such an option, including a recent SurveyUSA study that found 77 percent of Americans feel it is important to have a “choice” between a government-run health care insurance option and private coverage. Andrew Sullivan notes that independents support it 57-33.